MINSK, 16 August (BelTA) - Representatives of the authorities and business of India and Belarus are actively seeking ways to overcome difficulties in mutual trade caused by the consequences of the pandemic and sanctions, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India to Belarus Alok Ranjan Jha told the media, BelTA has learned.
The diplomat believes that the main role of an ambassador is to develop and strengthen economic relations with the host country. As for the cooperation between India and Belarus, it remains at the level of about half a billion US dollars on a yearly basis. In 2021, the bilateral trade was $567 million. “The figure for our countries is not that big. It is much lower than the potential that Belarus and India have,” the ambassador said.
Potash fertilizers traditionally account for the largest share of Belarusian exports to India. Then go nitrogen fertilizers, tire raw materials, and some types of steel. India mainly supplies Belarus with medicines, raw materials for tobacco products, processed tobacco products, cotton yarn, electric transformers, tea, coffee, rice, some nylon products.
According to Alok Ranjan Jha, the cooperation between the countries has been developing steadily in such sectors as pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, agricultural machinery and defense industry. The ambassador sees great potential for future cooperation in sectors such as information technology, commerce (Internet of Things) and industry.
The head of the diplomatic mission admits, however, that he sometimes finds it difficult to convince Indian businessmen to cooperate with Belarus, because the country seems very small to them: “They do not see much interest, because the scale is not comparable to that of India. My main task is to explain that Belarus is a gateway, that they can enter bigger markets through Belarus.”
Trade between the countries was also affected by new challenges due to the recent pandemic and sanctions. All this had a negative impact on logistics and caused difficulties with payments. “Our government and business representatives continue communicating to find a way out,” the ambassador said. According to him, the same is true about Belarus. For example, the country's authorities, together with the producer and supplier of potash fertilizers, are looking for alternative ways to deliver the goods to India after Belarus was banned from exporting it through the port of Klaipeda. “These new challenges keep our trade at a level far below its true potential,” Alok Ranjan Jha said.